Meditation Practice: Monkey Mind
I start my days in silence with nothing on my agenda other than just being. As I exhale I sigh a single audible sigh, and then begin to seek the silence, what is that I hear? It’s the incessant internal noise Buddhists refer to as the chatter of the monkey mind.
Who is imprisoning you in suffering? Your mother? Your father? Your boss? The person who cut you off on the highway? Are they the ones who are imprisoning you in suffering? No! We are our own jail-keeper. We construct the prison, we put ourselves inside the cell, we lock it up and throw away the key. And then we blame the world for it. — Venerable Thubten Chodron
How often do we experience conscious living in the present moment?
When we are exercising or walking are we in the moment? Or are we occupied with the thought of how long it will take us to reach the end? Are we enjoying every movement and every step? Are we taking in all the sights, the smells, and the sounds? Or are we wearing ear buds to tune into music and tune out of the moment to moment experience?
If our body and mind are too restless to sit then a walking meditation is a good alternative. We can simply focus our attention on our breath and our feet contacting the ground. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests placing one’s foot as “an emperor would place his seal on a royal decree” with dignity, grace and certitude, and “going without arriving”. We can observe our environment without becoming engaged in it. And if our monkey mind begins chattering we can return our attention to observing our breath.
Mindfulness in the present moment
Listening requires that we genuinely focus on the others’ words, meanings, and feelings. We let go of our own ideas, roles, and agendas so we appreciate and understand what the other person is conveying from their point of view. If we don’t let go then what we “hear” will all be filtered through our own preconceived ideas and assumptions produced by the monkey mind.
We lead hectic lives and at day’s end there are times when the monkey mind refuses to relax. The primary cause of insomnia is stress, worry and endlessly thinking. We have all experienced remaining awake in bed for hours, obsessing over past events or future projections.
Unless we can break this cycle of monkey mind chatter, we won’t get the restorative power of sleep we need so that we can face the next day refreshed. There are are four key steps we can take to turn our bedroom into a “sleep oasis” so we get a good night’s sleep. Lavender aromatherapy can slow nervous system activity and promote relaxation, resulting in a peaceful night’s sleep. Relaxation techniques are also effective.
Mindfulness is the key to taming our ‘monkey mind’ the internal chaos that keeps us flitting back and forwards, obsessing about the minutiae of life – can be frustrating and elusive. — Source PDF
Learn to experience thoughts passing through the mind like fluffy clouds passing through the sky. Do not follow them or attempt to drive them away — pay no mind to the chatter and projections of the monkey mind. – Meditation Practice: Mountain Meditation for Beginners